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Laboratory Policies

Access to NIF Instruments

The instruments of NIF are available on a first come – first served basis. If large demand results in unacceptably long waiting periods, the time of use will be limited (e.g. for 3 hours per day but not more than 10 hours per week per user.) If a measurement requires longer running time, access by an expert user can be arranged for the weekend or overnight. In case of conflict, priority will be given to courses and to research at UMBC and other UM campuses.

Potential users of the NovaNanoSEM 450 will be interviewed by the manager of the NIF in order to determine their background, the level of necessary training, and the need for supervision when working on the instrument.

  • Expert users, who are able to operate the instruments without assistance in most situations and are able to do basic troubleshooting when needed. They can arrange for instrument time outside usual working hours.
  • Experienced users, who are able to perform routine operation, but may need assistance occasionally. They should arrange instrument time during regular working hours
  • Beginners, who need the help from a more experienced user, either a coworker or a person associated with NIF. They should work during regular working hours and make sure that help is available.

Instrument time can be reserved online on the KPIF scheduling page. The person who made the reservation must begin work no later than 15 min after the beginning of the scheduled time; otherwise a stand-by user may take over the reserved time slot.

Training & Keypad Entry

Please arrange training on the instrument with Tagide deCarvalho ( and you will be assigned a unique 4 digit code for independent entry into the facility after training.


Logbook: Each instrument has a log-book. Users must record the time of starting at the beginning of their work. They must also provide basic information on the type of application and detectors/tips used. At the end of a session, the end time has to be recorded, together with any unusual occurrence during work. Potentially useful observations and successful ways of handling problems can also be recorded.

Work order form: A work order form must be filled out for every session, including chart string information. Printed copies of the form will be available at each instrument.

Laboratory Safety

No food or drink is allowed in the laboratory. Touching anything inside the sample chamber without gloves is strictly forbidden. Minute amounts of grease condense in the column, decompose under the electron beam and form carbon deposit near the path of the electrons. The carbon deposit leads to deteriorating performance and it is very difficult to remove.

Publications and Acknowledgements

Please acknowledge with a statement such as:  “SEM/AFM images were obtained at the UMBC NanoImaging Facility.” and report publications to the facility director, Tagide deCarvalho.

The copyright of any image belongs to the researcher bringing the sample to the NanoImaging Facility. Nevertheless, user images are often useful to demonstrate the capabilities of the instrument to potential other users or students and they will be used for that purpose unless the user specifically requests otherwise, e.g. in the case of classified work. no image will be placed on the NIF web page or made public in any other way without explicit permission of the user.